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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

This book was one big fat "WTF???" For reals. Mind blowingly cray cray. Off the charts. This is The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles Graeber.

During the 1980's and 1990's, as many as 300 (possibly more) patients died at the hands of Charlie Cullen. Known as a brilliant nurse but an odd character, Charlie was the guy you wanted to have on hand. He could work a code like nobody's business, his intelligence was clearly high, and he was good at what he did. Why, then, were deaths by tainted IV's spiking at every hospital he worked? No one has yet figured out why the Angel of Death killed so many without rhyme or reason. Sometimes madness just can't be explained.

It's no secret that I love a good murder mystery, and this one blew my mind. Graeber tells the most wild and unbelievable story in such a narrative that it reads like a roast beef with horseradish cream sauce sandwich. It was rich and meaty and absolutely shocking. I couldn't believe that I was reading a true tale. I was. 

It made me never want to go to the hospital again. This is the most chilling of true-life horror stories. Graeber gives us the Charlie character with no holds barred. We see him warts and all. The most amazing thing, however, was the pathos that Graeber brought to the story. He didn't make Charlie out to be some Texas Chainsaw Massacre-type murder, but rather made him a full and rounded character who, while never justifying his actions, seemed to be making choices that suited him. It was wild and insane. I loved it.

Hard copy below.

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